Like This Blog, Steve Walker’s Skwawkbox has been keeping an eye on attempts by right-wingers in Labour (notably Progress/Labour First, or whatever they’re calling themselves today) to keep control of the National Executive Committee away from Corbyn.
His latest piece lifts the lid off of Progress leader Richard Angell’s hypocrisy.
In an astonishingly ludicrous article, Angell:
- calls Corbyn’s widely-lauded Conference speech ‘shrill demands for followership
- complains that removing Ashworth from the NEC would ‘ride roughshod over the all-important Labour rulebook’ (no sense of irony, these people, when his allies did exactly that to rig the NEC only a couple of weeks ago)
- claims that Corbyn has little respect for those ‘willing to return’ just a day after Corbyn appointed 21 further ministers to his shadow cabinet, of which no fewer than 10 were ‘returners’
- calls Ashworth ‘loyal’ in spite of a 100% record of voting against Corbyn on the NEC (clearly Ashworth didn’t resign because to do so would mean leaving his position on the NEC)
- accuses Corbyn of ‘sticking up two fingers’ at those who voted for Owen Smith in the recent leadership election
- then caps all this by claiming that wanting Ashworth to remain on the NEC is about unity
Anyone with two braincells can see that Angell’s and Progress’ interest in unity is thinner than paper, but to remove all doubt he kindly contributed a telling tweet that demonstrated beyond doubt his disdain for any idea of uniting behind the twice-democratically-elected Labour leader by promoting a completely unfounded, despicable smear without regard for appearance or consequence:
All this, along with Tom Watson’s scandalous ‘Project Anaconda’ to attempt to squeeze the life out of Corbyn’s leadership, the scandalous gerrymandering to rig the NEC, the appalling, barbed, self-justifying speeches at Labour’s Conference by Watson, Khan, McNicol and others, shows clearly that, while the right-wingers may talk of ‘unity’ as an expedient cover for their attempts to undermine the party’s leader and frustrate the democratic wishes of its membership, they have not the slightest intention of actually uniting.
In this, they show themselves to be guilty of exactly what they tried to frame Corbyn and his supporters as – interested only in control of the party, regardless of the cost to Labour’s electoral chances and the awful consequences for the people of this country. They don’t care how bad the damage is – and in fact may be consciously trying to increase it – as long as they can bring down the ‘new politics’ and restore the status quo (and status) they crave.
This being so, there can only be one real resolution. Unity is crucial – but it can only be achieved by removing the most intransigent saboteurs and provocateurs from the party altogether.
The shadily-funded, unaccountable Progress and its bastard child Labour First must be proscribed as what they love to accuse others of being – a ‘party within a party’ – and at the very least its ringleaders expelled for unquestionably bringing the party into disrepute and acting ‘against the aims and values of the Labour party’ in the most literal sense.
Only then can there genuinely be unity. And, like ripping off a sticking plaster, it’s best done quickly and without hesitation.
Not just the Labour party, but the country, depends on it.
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